(MENAFN - Arab Times) Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi
The name 'Greece' reminds us of great
philosophers such as Socrates, Pluto and Aristotle, its rich history of the
epic battles in Troy and Sparta, the beautiful Mediterranean islands, and the
delicious cuisine, let alone being the birthplace of the Olympics.
When Greece joined
the European Union (EU) in 1980, it had a promising economy which was in chime
with the entry conditions of this huge organization of European countries.
In terms of
the economy status, the conditions were: inflation should not exceed 1.3
percent, government deficit should be less than three percent of the GDP,
interest rates of both medium and long terms should not exceed two percent, and
the public debt should be less than 60 percent of the GDP.
One of the
important conditions was to establish a unified currency for the member states,
which compelled Greece to abandon its Drachma currency and replace it with Euro
in 2001. Unfortunately, Greece's economy wasn't that strong to sustain and
properly implement the Euro dream, causing it to face several challenges which
eventually affected its economy drastically.
suffered from crises after crises although periodically, which manifested
itself in its credit rating. The then government couldn't take difficult
decisions to steer the country out of the economy downfall.
It is worth
mentioning that Greece, during that time, was a transit for most immigrants and
refugees fleeing war in the Middle East (Syria) and even Afghanistan. This
phenomenon negatively affected the country's security and even economy.
Greece ushered a new government in 2017 which managed to deal with the economy
crisis pragmatically to the extent that the country, in the same year, recorded
its first actual growth of 1.3 percent since nine years, and has now increased
to two percent this year, a growth that will continue in the coming years as
forecasted by the economy experts.
government, headed by Alexis Tsipras since 2015, continues to implement firm
steps towards balanced development until the economy stabilizes and the labor
market revives, in its decisive march towards coming out of the crisis and
persisting on the path of continuous growth in order to regain the country's
place in the international market.
positive development did not come as a surprise. It happened due to the
pragmatic approach taken towards the crisis, and the application of the remedy
even when the medicine was too blistering. The national statistical service of
Greece reported that the growth was the result of record-breaking tourism
activity which generated 14.5 billion Euros, an increase of about a billion
Euro compared to 2016.
According to EU statistical agency, Greece has the highest unemployment
rate in Europe, which stands at 21.7 percent. Unemployment continues to be the
biggest challenge faced in even major and high-economy countries, but when it
comes to Greece, the future looks optimistic in terms of tackling and solving
their economy challenges and subsequently the social ones.
Greece is an
effective player in the Mediterranean region. It has enriched mankind for ages
in almost all aspects. The reason why Greece suffered from economic crisis is
the mismanagement of the country's economy and presence of corruption in all
domains of the country.
neighbor Turkey went through a wave of economy crises that hit it very hard but
it eventually managed to recover from it due to proper management of its
resources and reach its current status. Irrespective of the setbacks in its
currency rate in the world market, its local economy is still strong and firm.
It is in the
interest of everyone to ensure Greece becomes an economic power. So far, the
government's performance has been promising based on positive data. I believe
Greece is heading towards development, growth and prosperity.
(The figures contained in this article were gathered from
Twitter - @alzmi1969
'Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted' – ancient
Greece tragedian Sophocles (496 BC - 406 BC).
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi